Like many parents, soft play isn’t my favourite place to be. I’m not really a fan of lots of children, so mass excitement and children who are oblivious to anything other than getting on soft play equipment is a situation I could happily avoid. Thankfully N’s favourite softplay place is the Riverside Hub and it’s a lot better than most.
There’s more than just soft play, there’s a decent cafe, it’s clean and there’s plenty of tables and seating. They just need to make it easier to get on the wifi but apart from that I’ll happily sit and read or blog while vaguely keeping an eye on N.
I do love to people watch though. It’s the perfect distraction. And looking at how children behave is really interesting. I did psychology for a year at uni, and I think I really should have continued it. Here’s a look at some of the types of children at soft play.
Types of children at soft play
1, The birthday boy or girl
The child permamently surrounded by other children, confidently running around like they’re a regular, and holding court like they own the place.
2, The rule breaker
These always do what they’re told not to, and go in areas they shouldn’t be. The latest N experienced was an older girl going down the big slide next to him, and she decided to change lane to his halfway down and ended up crashing into him.
When the children are called back for the party tea, they’re the child who ignores the request and comes when an adult has to go and find them to bring them back. The child that the birthday parent worries will break something or themselves.
3, The non-sharer
The one who never shares and hogs everything they can. They’ll block other children from using that bit of equipment. They put on fancy dress costumes and don’t let anyone else try them out even though they’re swamping them or they’re hot and sticky in a furry lion outfit. If there’s a digger or cannon in the ball pit (or sandpit at a playground), they’ll be the child on there who is oblivious to the queue of children who’ve been standing waiting for 30 minutes. There’s never a parent in sight to encourage them to let someone else have a go.
4, The wild child
If there’s one daring child, this is it. The scariest vertical slide they’re there, the high wires or nets, they’re first in the queue. They have no worries about trying something new.
5, The Flitter
The child who never sticks at one thing. They’re just overwhelmed by all the options and end up running from one area to anoher, never repeating a go on something more than once in one go.
6, The conversation starter
This child never stops talking. On the journey there, when parking and during play. The commentary is ongoing, whether through excitement or just permanently having questions.
7, The bully
There’s always one in a soft play venue. The child you want yours to avoid. The one who is just a bit vicious. Who lashes out if they don’t get their way. or just wants to be in the middle of everything and won’t stop until they get there, whoever they push out of the way. Some might be accidental, but you can watch them looking out for the most vulnerable child and flattening them.
8, The shy one
Joining in only with encouragement, this child takes time to leave their parent’s side wanting them to come round the venue with them. With 5 minutes to go they’ll start to relax and are happy to explore the venue on their own.
9, The diva
Could be #1 or #3. The diva (boy or girl) can often be found with a sulk on their face sitting in a corner, or lying on the floor having a tantrum and refusing to get up. The diva may behave better after a discussion with an adult.
10, The ‘can’t believe we’re in soft play’
All other children generally fall into #10. Children who love soft play, could spend ages there, and just enjoys life and their friends running around. And want to return almost as soon as you’ve left.
How do you feel about soft play? Have you experienced any of these types?